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Vettel quickest in opening practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red BullSebastian Vettel edged out Fernando Alonso in a late battle for the honour of being fastest in the opening practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Both set their fastest laps moments apart in the closing seconds, with Vettel's 1m16.619s for Red Bull sufficient to nip ahead of his Ferrari rival by 0.113 seconds.

Nico Rosberg was third for Mercedes, followed by Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa and the two McLarens.

But last year's winner Mark Webber did not have a good start to his weekend. A gearbox issue on his Red Bull meant he only completed three slow installation laps and did not set a time.

Unsurprisingly as circuit conditions got ever better, a string of different drivers topped the times during the session, with both Ferraris, Hamilton and Vettel leading the way before Rosberg put Mercedes on top going into the final five minutes. He could not stay there once Alonso and Vettel launched their last runs though, and ended up half a second down in third.

Behind Massa, Lewis Hamilton was just ahead of McLaren team-mate Jenson Button in fifth.

Pastor Maldonado - who has an outstanding record in Monaco from his junior career - showed similar form on his first taste of the circuit in a Formula 1 car, taking a very promising seventh for Williams.

Two drivers found the barriers during the session, the first being Tonio Liuzzi, who crashed his Hispania on the approach to the chicane.

The other accident was courtesy of Michael Schumacher. He locked up on the approach to Sainte Devote, appeared to make a late decision to try and take to the escape road, but ended up spinning sideways into the barriers. Hispania's Narain Karthikeyan went off in sympathy as he watched the incident, though the Indian avoided contact.

Both of those incidents were swiftly cleared away with no need for a stoppage, but there was a five-minute red flag mid-session while the officials investigated a puddle of water that had appeared under the flagstand on the main straight, seemingly from an under-surface leak.

Pos  Driver                Team                      Time             Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault          1m16.619s          25
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                   1m16.732s  + 0.113	24
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                  1m17.139s  + 0.520	20
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                   1m17.316s  + 0.697	24
 5.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes          1m17.350s  + 0.731	23
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes          1m17.534s  + 0.915	24
 7.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth         1m18.527s  + 1.908	30
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes      1m18.578s  + 1.959	24
 9.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                   1m18.733s  + 2.114	16
10.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                  1m18.805s  + 2.186	14
11.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                   1m18.928s  + 2.309	19
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1m19.234s  + 2.615	24
13.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth         1m19.395s  + 2.776	24
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1m19.463s  + 2.844	25
15.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari            1m19.768s  + 3.149	25
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari            1m19.792s  + 3.173	26
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault             1m20.083s  + 3.464	23
18.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault             1m21.116s  + 4.497	27
19.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes      1m21.548s  + 4.929	32
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth           1m21.758s  + 5.139	31
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth           1m21.815s  + 5.196	17
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth              1m22.840s  + 6.221	13
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth              1m23.885s  + 7.266	37
24.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault          No time             3

All Timing Unofficial
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